A will is essential and creating one should be the first step you take toward estate planning, but most people require more than just a will for a complete estate plan.
Estate planning will look different for different people, depending on the type of assets you have and how many beneficiaries you have. Here are some typical elements of a comprehensive estate plan.
Elements of a Comprehensive Estate Plan
The will is the document that most people think of when they think of an estate plan, and for good reason. Wills are essential to ensure that your wishes are honoured, and are generally the best place to start. A will is a document that outlines your assets and beneficiaries, and how you would like your belongings, money, and other assets to be distributed. It is important to work with a lawyer to draft your will in order to ensure that it is legally sound and properly worded.
A trust agreement is a legal arrangement where certain assets are held with specific rules about when and how a beneficiary or beneficiaries can use those assets. To manage the assets, a trustee is chosen to have legal ownership of them within the trust and to distribute them according to the trust’s stipulations. The trustee may be a beneficiary themselves, or they may simply be acting on the behalf of a beneficiary, for example if the beneficiary is a child and cannot manage the assets themselves.
Representation Agreements & Advance Directives
Representation agreements and advance directives allow chosen individuals to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in situations when you are unable to do so, such as if you are in a coma or experiencing a loss of mental faculties. These legal arrangements ensure that your loved ones have the authority to act according to your stipulated wishes and preferences for medical treatment.
If you are putting together your estate plan, it is crucial to work with a lawyer to ensure that you have all of the necessary documents, and that these documents are in proper legal order. Our lawyers at Munro & Crawford have years of experience working with clients like you to create estate plans that put you and your family’s best interests first.